28 November 2011, 10:11
Pilgrimage to the Belt of the Mother of God in Moscow is unique event in history of Russia, church official believes
*** Neither Stalin's funerals nor revolution can compare to flow of people to the shrine
Moscow, November 28, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate official admires people who in spite of cold weather for hours stood in line to the Cathedral of Christ to venerate the Belt of the Holy Virgin.
"People who stood for 24 hours and more to venerate the shrine deserve the highest respect, they carried out the real feat of faith, they proved again that the faith has not died in our people, they love the Mother of God, they know that She helps in various difficulties and supports people in good undertakings," head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion.
According to the priest, from information of headquarters staff who organize access to the shrine, he received confirmation that "the number of people gathered in one place is unprecedented in history of Moscow and Russia."
"Neither Stalin's funerals nor revolutionary events of early 20th century nor political meetings of its end can be compared to it," he stressed.
The interviewee of the agency said that it was very good that people received help from city authorities that provided them with food and places to get warm and staff of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior as well as priests who take turns near the line and volunteers: "everyone who visited the shrine recall them with gratitude and warmth."
"Certainly, such unprecedented number of people in one place can't do without physical difficulties, without offenses, without conflicts but there are fewer of them that one can imagine in frames of the first unprecedented in history event of such scale," he stressed.
Besides, the representative of the Church urged everyone who managed to venerate the belt or won't have such a possibility to remember that "the main shrine of our Church is Eucharist, communion of the Body and Blood of Christ."
"Everyone who touched the Belt shouldn't turn it in a doubtful, one-time action and should learn to participate in the Divine Liturgy. I don't advise those who have already visited the Belt to go there one more time, but give other people a chance to touch it," Father Vsevolod said.
He also commented an opinion of certain media that tried to explain interest to the Belt of the Mother of God with lack of faith to authorities as people hope only for miracle. "I don't refer it to politics. The date of bringing the Belt of the Mother of God was defined long ago before the terms of elections were defined and I think that people's faith doesn't depend much on what authorities we have today and what authorities will come," the priest summed up.